Soroka's debut leads top prospects Monday

Soroka's debut leads top prospects Monday

The Braves opted to send their No. 4 prospect Mike Soroka directly to Double-A Mississippi to begin the season, jumping him past the Class A Advanced level entirely, even though he'd spent all of last season at Class A Rome. On Monday, the 19-year-old right-hander rewarded his organization's vote of confidence by tossing five scoreless innings to pace the M-Braves in a 7-4 win over Jacksonville in his Double-A debut.

Soroka, who is ranked 75th on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100, allowed just two hits and struck out seven while throwing 53 of his 80 pitches for strikes. He also generated five ground-balls outs, courtesy of his trademark low- to mid-90s sinker.

"I think it went well, really well," Soroka told MiLB.com. "I got a couple heads-up from Kolby [Allard] and the other guys [on] how to go after some of these guys. There were a little jitters, but I thought I controlled them well. It's the first start of the season, and those happen. But it's like we've been saying -- it's another level, but it's still baseball. Good pitchers throwing good pitches are going to do well anywhere."

Selected by Atlanta in the first round of the 2015 Draft, Soroka logged 143 innings over 24 starts last season as an 18-year-old for the South Atlantic League champion Rome Braves. He allowed 130 hits and just three home runs in that span, with 125 strikeouts and 32 walks.

Braves No. 9 prospect Travis Demeritte supported Soroka's fine effort by putting Mississippi on the board with a solo home run, his first of the season, in the bottom of the fourth inning. The 22-year-old second baseman hit a career-high 28 homers last season.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Monday

• No. 2 overall prospect Yoan Moncada (White Sox No. 1) stayed red-hot for Triple-A Charlotte as he connected on his second home run of the young season -- a fourth-inning solo shot -- and scored a pair of runs, although it wasn't enough to keep the Knights from falling to Durham, 7-4. He finished the game 1-for-3 with two walks to leave his slash line to .391/.462/.652 through five games.

• No. 11 overall prospect Cody Bellinger (Dodgers' No. 1) went 3-for-4 to improve his average to .476 (10-for-21) through five games for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Four of those hits have gone for extra bases, including his first home run of the season, and he's already tallied five RBIs.

• No. 16 overall prospect Rafael Devers (Red Sox's No. 2) went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs to lead Double-A Portland past Binghamton. The 20-year-old third baseman is 5-for-12 at the plate, with one homer and two doubles, to begin his season.

• No. 67 overall prospect A.J. Puk (A's No. 2) dominated in his Class A Advanced California League debut as he recorded six strikeouts in four scoreless innings. The 2016 first-rounder (No. 6 overall) surrendered two hits and walked one while throwing 43 of his 59 pitches for strikes. Catcher Sean Murphy (A's No. 17), whom Oakland selected in the third round last June, hit a pair of solo home runs to pace the Ports offensively.

• No. 68 overall prospect Anthony Alford (Blue Jays' No. 3) continued his torrid start to the season, reaching base in all five of his plate appearances for Double-A New Hampshire. Alford finished 2-for-2 with three walks, also tallying two RBIs and scoring a run. He's collected multiple hits in each of his four games for the Fisher Cats, during which he's combined to go 9-for-12 (.750 average) at the plate.

• Braves' No. 11 prospect Touki Toussaint surrendered just two hits in five scoreless frames with six strikeouts for Class A Advanced Florida against Dunedin. Catcher-turned-outfielder-turned-catcher Alex Jackson (No. 23) hit his second homer of the season, a two-run shot in the fourth inning, in the victory.

Brewers' No. 11 prospect Marcos Diplan dazzled in his season debut for Class A Advanced Carolina as he tossed five no-hit innings against Wilmington. Diplan, 20, struck out five and walked four before giving way to Freddy Peralta (Brewers' No. 19), who recorded two more hitless frames before yielding a leadoff single in the eighth.

• Dodgers' No. 25 prospect Carlos Rincon's pair of two-run homers accounted for much of Class A Great Lakes offense in a 6-2 win over Lake County. The 19-year-old outfielder now has gone deep four times in his past three contests for the Loons after batting .328/.383/.661 with 13 homers in 52 games last season between the Dominican Summer and Rookie Arizona Leagues.

Nationals' No. 29 prospect Daniel Johnson connected on his third home run in five games as Class A Hagerstown edged Lakewood, 5-4. Both shortstop Carter Kieboom (No. 4) and third baseman Sheldon Neuse (No. 6), Washington's respective first- and third-round Draft picks last June, hit RBI doubles to put the Suns ahead in the seventh inning. Together they went 4-for-7 at the plate.

Orioles' No. 19 prospect Cedric Mullins blasted his second leadoff home run in five games -- and his third homer of the season -- in Double-A Bowie's extra-inning loss versus Erie. The toolsy center fielder finished 3-for-5 at the plate and owns a robust .545/.583/1.091 batting line through his first five games.

• It was only fitting that Mike Gerber scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning in Double-A Erie's win. The Tigers' No. 7 prospect had a huge day at the plate, hitting a game-tying two-run homer (his first of the season) in the bottom of the eighth inning and finishing 3-for-6 with four runs scored.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.